Wife of Kingsland man shot, killed by Llano Co. deputies files lawsuit

Body camera video showed the last moments a Kingsland man was alive before Llano County deputies shot and killed him. The man’s wife is now suing and said her husband wasn’t a threat.

"She had called the police asking for someone to save her husband's life. And they ended up taking her husband's life," the wife’s attorney, Tanner Scheef, said.

Justin Harrod, 40, was shot by Llano County deputies at around 6 a.m. on Oct. 23, 2022. It was the one-year anniversary of Harrod’s father’s death.

"He seemed to get emotionally overwhelmed. At some point, he threatened suicide and grabbed his firearm," Scheef said.

Harrod’s wife, Jillian, called 911 to try to get help for him. When law enforcement arrived, Harrod was seen lying outside on his stomach with a gun.

MORE: Llano County deputies used excessive force in shooting death of man: lawsuit

"He was asleep and then woken up by this kind of traumatic situation," Scheef said.

Harrod’s wife was down the street, the children were inside the home.

"Bud, please don’t make us do this," Llano County deputy Byron Cervantez said.

"Do what?" Harrod asked.

"Make me shoot you," a Llano County deputy said.

"Why would you shoot me?" Harrod asked.

"You’ve got a firearm in your hand, get rid of it," a Llano County deputy said.

Law enforcement pleaded with Harrod.

"2022 has been the worst year I’ve ever had in law enforcement, and I can’t do this with you this morning," Cervantez said.

After several minutes of back and forth, Llano County deputies came up with a plan.

"Ronny, so I’m thinking, Travis taze him, if it’s good, if it’s a good hit, then Russell and Jackson will go for the gun, me and you will cover hard," Cervantez said.

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Justin Harrod

What eventually happened was a deputy tazed Harrod, and Cervantez and Randy Shaw fired their guns and shot Harrod in the face and the forearm.

As emergency crews tended to Harrod, Cervantez went inside to check on the children.

Cervantez then tazed the family dog.

"It seems like maybe there was some sort of trigger happiness or aggression going on," Scheef said.

When Harrod’s wife arrived, the deputies didn’t let her see Harrod or know where he was shot. She was advised to get her children.

When the Llano County Sheriff’s Office first reported this shooting, they said deputies observed Harrod with a gun and tried to get him to drop it. He refused, and the situation "escalated."

"She {Jillian Harrod} felt betrayed that law enforcement would lie to her about how her husband died, make it seem like he had done something to deserve this," Scheef said.

After seeing the body camera footage for herself, Jillian filed a federal lawsuit against the city, the department, the deputies who shot their guns, and the now retired sheriff.

"She wants justice for Justin. She also wants to make sure that people aren’t scared to call the police when someone they love is in a mental health crisis," Scheef said.


Jillian said deputies told her they mistakenly handled her husband’s death, and they are training other officers on how to handle situations like this moving forward.

"I think there needs to be some kind of accountability for officers who do things like this," Scheef said.

The lawsuit charges the sheriff’s office with excessive use of force and claims it’s liable for failing to train its deputies.

"You can’t just get away with taking a man’s life while he’s lying prone on the ground," Scheef said.

Robert McCabe, an attorney representing some of the deputies, told FOX 7 Austin:

"Mr. Harrod had a firearm in his hand and had placed his finger on the trigger while stating, 'y'all want to do this!?' while refusing to comply with the simple and reasonable commands to release his control of the gun. When Mr. Harrod made the choice to raise himself up while armed, he was shot.  It is also worth noting that dispatch had notified the responding deputies that Mr. Harrod was intoxicated. Presumably, dispatch got this information from Jillian. Again, drunk, armed, non-compliant people are dangerous and tend to make poor decisions that justify a deadly force response from law enforcement, as in this case."

The district attorney's office investigated the incident back in 2022 and a grand jury decided not to indict the deputies.

FOX 7 reached out to the sheriff’s office about the employment status of the deputies and if any policy changes have been made and the chief said he cannot comment.